Chapter 47

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A/N - I'm lowkey crying cos this story is coming to an end and I'm v emotional because it's my baby and I love it so much and I've been writing it for two years and I don't want it to be over, ever. Hence why I procrastinated writing this chapter. I can't handle change.


I grasp hold of Peeta's arm and he seems to accept it, just as shocked and confused as I am at Coin's fallen body, blood pooling from the side of her body with an arrow protruding from it.

Despite the fact that the crowd behind me must be going wild, I'm only aware of one sound. Snow's laughter. An awful gurgling cackle I heard far too often in that cell but accompanied by an eruption of foamy blood when the coughing begins. I see him bend forward, spewing out his life, until the guards block him from my sight. The grey uniforms begin to converge on Katniss and I wonder whether they'll spare her or execute her, too.

I deftly feel Peeta shake me off and rush towards Katniss as she raises her left arm and twists her neck down to rip off the nightlock pill on her sleeve. I think I cry out as she instead sinks her teeth into Peeta's head. I look towards Beetee who looks concerned as the crowd of people begin to ascend onto Snow.

"Anna!" Haymitch's voice screams at me across the other side of the arena and he fights his way through the throng of people and grabs my arm roughly, dragging me away and out of harms way. I see Johanna helping Beetee over Haymitch's shoulder. I shrug him off and turn around facing the front, ignoring Haymitch entirely as we're ushered back into Snow's mansion. They've already arrested Katniss.

All of the Victors and several Capitol officials are huddled in the entryway to the mansion, everyone talking in hushed voices. Haymitch places both hands on either of my shoulders and looks me dead in the eye.

"Katniss will be having a trial. In the meantime, go back to your room, go in the gardens, see Finnick, do whatever. Just for the love of Panem don't get into trouble. I can't handle you as well as Katniss." He tells me.

I simply nod my agreement, the grudge against him slipping slightly but not enough for me to speak to him. Instead I walk towards Johanna. As usual, she's frowning. "What are we supposed to do now then?" she demands when I greet her. "Who's in charge?"

I look around at the people gathered, some of them breaking off to find a room to talk privately. "I don't know. I would imagine Paylor, perhaps?" I suggest then my shake my head. "I don't know, Johanna. It's all just a big mess."

"Tell you what, though," Johanna smirks. "That was a great performance on Katniss's part. The look on Coin's face!"

I give Johanna a look. "Please be mature about this right now?" Johanna gives me a look back and I sigh. "Fine. I'm going to visit Finnick again. I'll see you later."

As I move away, Johanna grabs my hand and spins me around. "I'll come with you." I nod and we walk down to the hospital again in silence.

There's no sign of the doctor on the ward so we slip quietly behind the curtain and find Finnick still there, still unconscious, still beautiful. I can feel the tears springing to my eyes as I perch on his bed and instantly take his left hand into my own, playing with the wedding band on his finger. Johanna walks around and sits on the other side of the bed.

"You know, Anna," Johanna says after a while. "He always loved you."

I look up at her in surprise. "What do you mean?"

"I was there when we saw your Reaping all those years ago. He was furious. Screaming. Throwing things around. There was no consoling him. He eventually stopped the anger and started crying, but he was a mess, Anna. Because of you," she points at me. "He never forgot you, not once. Ever since I met him he talked about you like you put the stars in the sky. It was quite nauseating actually. I nearly threw up every time. But he also told me about the day you ran into each other again and how he thought you'd know him instantly, and when you didn't he was heartbroken. He thought you'd never remember. Never know he was your childhood best friend. But he said he refused to stop trying (even though I told him to give up). And hey, look at that, a little bit of alcohol and bam! You're back. And you know...you realised you loved each other. He really does love you, Anna. He never lost track of you. Everything he did in the Capitol...all those things for Snow, letting himself be used...it was to protect you."

"Protect me?"

"Snow threatened you long before you even knew. As soon as Finnick became Victor, Snow was tormenting him with the idea of hurting you. You were already a target because of your parents and moving Districts, which is risky in itself, but you were also a target because he loves you," she indicates down at Finnick. "And he still does. Even now, I bet he's thinking about you. Yeah, there were other girls, but that was Snow's doing. For him...there was only ever you. And there only ever will be."

I smile at her story and look back down at my husband, I reach up and play with his hair. "I hope he knows it broke my heart too, leaving him as a child. And it was painful not knowing who he was when I could feel that there was something. I pined for him, everyday in that damn cell. Everyday."

"You're perfect for each other, Anna," Johanna mumbles and I laugh, surprised at her.

"Is Johanna Mason being somewhat sweet and romantic?" I tease. "What did the war do to you?"

"Yeah, well, don't get used to it," she pushes my shoulder but I can see the smile tugging on her lips.

"I've learned not to get used to anything when it comes to you, to be honest, Jo," I grin at her.

Her face turns serious. "Anna...look, I'm sorry about the vote. I know Finnick would've voted 'no', too, but I can't let things go like you can. Not something like this. I wanted to see him suffer."

"Believe me, you don't want to see him suffer any more than I do. But not that way. Never again." I give her a solemn smile and she returns it.

A murmur makes my smile drop, and Johanna's, too. My head snaps down to Finnick and I get closer to him. "Did he just?" Johanna asks me in a low whisper behind me.

"I think so..." I breathe out, not daring to speak loudly in case I missed it. "Go find the doctor."

"What if it wasn't ev-"

"Now!" I hiss at her and she hurries off. I press my hand to Finnick's cheek. "Finnick? Can you hear me? It's Vivianna, it's me, can you hear me?"

I pray quietly while desperately trying to hear something from him. Anything. And then I do, another little heavy breath, as if he's trying to talk. His eyes are still closed, his chest still rising slightly, but there was definitely a noise."Please, Finnick," I'm crying now, begging for him to wake up or say my name. I can hear my heart thundering beneath my chest in the quiet hospital, so loud that I'm scared I'll miss him talking. Or whispering. Or anything.

But he's still, and silent again, and I knew Johanna and Dr. Aurelius would be back soon, just to see that he made a couple noises and went back to sedation again. Just as disappointment begins to wrack through my body, I feel his fingers twitch around my hand, and then slowly close, gripping my fingers tightly in his. "Finnick..?" I murmur cautiously, but there's still no reply. He just squeezes my hand.

"What happened?" Dr. Aurelius comes rushing in and instantly checks of his pulse.

I stand up to give him space to work, but keep my hand laced with Finnick's. "He made a few noises, like sighs, or something, and he's just squeezed my hand." I tell him hurriedly. He simply nods and tries to talk to Finnick.

I feel Johanna's arms wrap around my shoulders, her head resting on my neck as we watched the doctor work, both silently praying our best friend and my husband would wake up. I taste something metallic in my mouth and realise I've been chewing the inside of my lip harshly and it had begun to bleed.

I close my eyes, and rock back and forth on my heels, feeling tears dripping down my face and chin. Despite being angry with him, it's time like this that make me realise how much I need Haymitch. He was a mess, true, but he was familiar and comforting and like family to me. And I need him to tell me everything is going to be okay right now. But Katniss needs him more, and he'll be caught up with her trial to worry about me and Finnick. I make a promise right there to seek him out as soon as I leave the hospital.

Johanna nudges me and my eyes fly open, to see Finnick's own eyelids fluttering. I shake Johanna off and rush to his side again. His eyes open slowly, and spin wildly around the room, trying to focus. "Finnick?" I ask cautiously and his beautiful, beautiful eyes that I've missed so much land on mine. I could see his confusion before they settle. Finnick lifts his body quickly, but he's too weak and he falls back.

He tries to talk, but all that comes out is a groan. But I don't care; he's awake.

"Is he... okay?" I glance up at Dr. Aurelius, who's blurry now from my tears.

His thin lips are pulled into a smile. He nods. "He'll be all right with rest and care."

"An-na," Finnick manages to get out and I look at him, my heart swelling. His own mouth is smiling.

I grin and laugh tearfully. "Hey, there, Pretty Boy," I tell him and he tries to laugh but begins coughing.

"Here, let's sit him up," Johanna comes forward and with Dr. Aurelius's permission, we help pull Finnick up into a sitting position. The doctor excuses himself and leaves us to it. Johanna quickly follows.

"Anna," Finnick says again, clearer this time although his voice is still hoarse and soar. "Vivianna. I c-could hear you."

I see stray tears spill out of the corner of his eyes, and I reach up to wipe them away. "I missed you."

"I missed you, too. Is it just me or did you get three times more beautiful since I last saw you?" he gives me a wink.

"Even after you've been out for days, you still manage to flirt with me. Finnick Odair, I do love you." I laugh out loud and he grins.

"I love you, too," he tells me. "Now come here and kiss me."

I oblige, leaning forward and letting my eyes close as my lips touch his again. He tastes like saltwater, as always, though I figured that was just a mixture of both of our tears. But still, it was like the first time I kissed him. When I pull away, I press my forehead to his. "Promise me," I whisper to him. "Promise me you'll never risk your life again."

His hand reaches up slowly and cups my cheek, his thumb rubbing gently. "I can't promise that," he whispers back and before I can protest he hushes me. "I can't promise that, Anna, because I would risk my life any day for you. And I always will. And one day, when we have a family, I'd risk my life for them."

"I can't lose you again, Finnick,"

He tilts my head and kisses the top of it. "You won't."

I didn't say anything more. I simply moved down, and curled up against him, his hands around my waist, and one of mine on his heart, just to make sure he's really here.

~

An awkward cough stirs me awake, and I sit up, peeling away from an already awake Finnick to see Haymitch standing in the corner. His eyebrows raise. "Nice to see you awake again, Odair," he nods at Finnick, a small smile on his face.

Finnick nods back and looks at me. "It's good to be back."

I watch Haymitch apprehensively. "Katniss's trial?"

"Over and done with," Haymitch tells me. "It's time to go home."

"Home?" I echo.

Do I have a home? Twelve was what I called home, but it's long gone by now. It's an abandoned battle field and a reminder of what was taken from me. That godforsaken cell downstairs felt like I'd been there for years, but it wasn't my home. It's just a nightmare that will haunt me forever. I don't have a home.

"Where?" I ask, nibbling on my lip.

"Back to Four, Anna," Finnick answers, looking down hopefully at him.

I think about it. Four was where I was born, where I grew up for six years. And then returned years later a grown woman to live in a big house by the beach alone for weeks until the Quell. I think of the dream I had when passed out. Four seemed like a constant reminder of everything that was taken from me, of my childhood and my parents and friends.

But it also promised a fresh start, with the man I am in love with. A chance to have a family of my own grow up without disturbance by the beach, and have the childhood I wished I had been given. Live with Finnick. Yes...that's what I wanted.

I nod slowly. "Okay. Let's go home."

Once Finnick is cleared to leave, the three of us make our way onto one of the hovercrafts. I make a mental note to call Johanna when we get home, and apologise for not saying goodbye. Haymitch and Plutarch sit across from me, Finnick and surprisingly Katniss. In a few moments, we're airborne.

I've never seen Plutarch in such a good mood. He's positively glowing as he leans forward towards Katniss. "You must have a million questions!" When she doesn't respond, he answers them anyway.

After Katniss shot Coin, there was pandemonium. When the ruckus died down, they discovered Snow's body, still tethered to the post. Opinions differ on whether he choked to death while laughing or was crushed by the crowd. No one really cares. An emergency election was thrown together and Paylor was voted in as president, as predicted. Plutarch was appointed secretary of communications, which means he sets the programming for the airwaves. The first big televised event was Katniss's trial, in which he was also a star witness. To defend her, of course.

Although most of the credit for her exoneration must be given to Dr.Aurelius, who apparently earned his naps by presenting her as a hopeless, shell-shocked lunatic. One condition for her release is that she'll continue under his care, although it will have to be by phone because he'd never live in a forsaken place like 12, and apparently Katniss is confined there until further notice. The truth is, no one quite knows what to do with us all now that the war's over, although if another one should spring up, Plutarch's sure they could find a role for us.

Then Plutarch has a good laugh. It never seems to bother him when no one else appreciates his jokes. "Are you preparing for another war, Plutarch?" Katniss asks, cocking an eyebrow up.

"Oh, not now. Now we're in that sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated," he says. "But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We're fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction. Although who knows? Maybe this will be it, Katniss."

"What?" she asks.

"The time it sticks. Maybe we are witnessing the evolution of the human race. Think about that." And then he asks her if she'd like to perform on a new singing program he's launching in a few weeks. Something upbeat would be good. He'll send the crew to her house.

I share an eye roll and a glance with Finnick, who's skin is becoming more lifelike and less sallow by the minute. Perhaps it's just the prospect of going home and escaping the Capitol. Maybe it's just the pills.

We land briefly in District 3 to drop off Plutarch. He's meeting with Beetee to update the technology on the broadcast system. His parting words to the three of us are "Don't be a stranger."

When we're back among the clouds, I look at Haymitch. "So why are you going back to Twelve? I would've thought you'd stay in the Capitol."

"They can't seem to find a place for me in the Capitol either," he says. At first, I don't question this. But doubts begin to creep in. Haymitch hasn't assassinated anyone. He could go anywhere. If he's going back to 12, it's because he's been ordered to.

"You have to look after me, don't you?" Katniss questions, coming to the same conclusion as me. "As my mentor?" He shrugs. "My mother's not coming back."

"No," he says. He pulls an envelope from his jacket pocket and hands it to her. "She's helping to start up a hospital in District Four. She wants you to call as soon as we get in. You know why she can't come back. Do you want to know who else won't be there?"

"No," Katniss says. "I want to be surprised."

"Well," Finnick pipes up, giving Katniss a sad smile. "You can count on us to visit you."

Katniss doesn't reply, but something tells me that this promise meant a great deal more to her than expected. I tilt my head and rest against Finnick's broad shoulders as the hovercraft flies us over Panem. I begin to grow nervous as we make our descent to District Four and I grasp onto Finnick's hand for comfort.

We land smoothly and I unbuckle my belt, standing up and brushing myself down, thankful for the comfortable clothes  Effie gave me to change into before we left. I turned to Haymitch. I'd already had a round of tearful goodbyes with the Prep team earlier, but this by far would be the hardest goodbye.

I throw my arms around his neck and hug him tightly, his arms wrapping around my wait and hugging hard back. I couldn't help crying, and it seems he couldn't either. I forgot all about being angry with him and instead focused on the fact that I would not be seeing Haymitch every day like I used to, and that I couldn't simply walk next door for comfort when I needed any, and he wouldn't console me in the middle of the night from my dreams. Instead, I had Finnick for that.

"I'm only a phone call away, Vivianna," he tells me quietly and I nod, not daring to speak. We pull away, and I give him a weak smile. Then Finnick and Haymitch clasp each other in a tight embrace. "Look after her, Odair." Haymitch threatens him. "Or I'll put you back in that hospital."

The image of Haymitch trying to knock out Finnick is an amusing one and I smile at the two. Finnick says something back to him, but I don't catch it.

I rest a hand on Katniss's shoulder. "We'll see you, soon," I tell her.

"You better," she smiles. "I'm glad you're together."

"So am I," Finnick agrees, taking my hand again and pressing a kiss to my fingers. "Shall we?"

I take a deep breath in and smile. "Lead the way."  

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